ALMOST £1bn is set to be invested in Southampton over the next five years to transform the city and improve services, it has been revealed.

Part of Bitterne is set to be given a major makeover while the Outdoor Sports Centre could undergo a long-awaited revamp as part of new multi-million pound projects planned for the city.

The news comes as civic chiefs at Southampton City Council have unveiled their investment plan until 2025 as well as the budget for the next financial year.

The schemes for the Sports Centre and Bitterne are among the several projects that city bosses are aiming to complete by 2025.

According to the proposals, a state-of-the-art leisure centre, a library and health services would be created at Bitterne Precinct.

The scheme would cost £32.9m while an extra £16.9m is expected to be invested to refurbish the Outdoor Sports Centre. Details of both schemes are yet to be revealed.

Council leader Christopher Hammond said the council decided to approach this year’s budget differently and set a five year plan which would see a total of £981m invested in the city in the next five years.

According to the plans, £21m would be spent on measures to tackle pollution and deliver the Green City Charter’s plan while £2.5m would be used to improve pavements across the city.

Civic chiefs are also proposing to spend a total of £1.5m on additional street cleaning and litter enforcement activities while £250m would be spent on improving council housing.

The improvements would include the upgrade of common areas and warden alarm systems as well as structural repair works.

According to the proposed budget city playparks are also set for a major overhaul as £1.20m would be spent on refurbishing 15 play sites across Southampton.

The Feed the Future programme, which sees free fruit and yoghurts distributed to city schools, is to be expanded as a total of £500,000 is expected to go towards the scheme and other youth activities.

Plans to transform the so-called Mayflower Quarter, the area between Southampton Central Station and the waterfront, would receive a £200,000 cash boost between 2020 and 2021 to allow the development of a masterplan and the delivery of the first phase of the scheme.

As previously reported, homes, shops, offices and leisure attractions are expected to be built at the sites which also include the area between Ikea and Leisure World.

Civic chiefs are also planning to spend £319,000 towards the bid for Southampton to become City of Culture 2025 and £46,000 on flood defences.

Transport and roads are also set for a major cash boost as a number of improvement schemes have been unveiled, including a park and ride that could be built in Nursling at the cost of £1m.

The council said the schemes would be funded from a number of sources including borrowing, grants from central government and contributions from third parties.

Civic chiefs said the “core council tax level” for 2020/21 will not increase but the adult social care percept will go up by 2% with the money raised set to be used to provide adult social care services.

This would take the overall charge for the Southampton City Council element of the council tax from £1,535.52 to £1,566.18 for Band D households.

Meanwhile, it is estimated that the council will spend £190.8m to run day-to-day services in 2020/21.

Between 2020 and 2021 civic chiefs are planning to save a total of £7.8m, of which £370,000 would be achieved from supporting people to live independently through an improved access to services available provided by the voluntary sector.

An extra £4.1m is expected to be saved from measures designed to generate extra income. These could include reducing paper letters sent in a bid to save on postage and envelopes while £400,000 is expected to be saved following a review of the internal staffing structure and the reduction in the number of senior manager posts, but the Daily Echo understands this would not involve compulsory redundancies.

Opposition leader Councillor Dan Fitzhenry said it’s positive to have a long term plan for the city, but added: “It is positive that our council officers have come up with a long term plan for the city finances but The problem is the poor political leadership from the ruling Labour group which endlessly complains they have no money. In reality, they have the money – they just don’t know what they want to do with it.”

Hitting back to Cllr Fitzhenry, council leader Christopher Hammond said: “What is unprecedented is that our ability to fund services has been systematically slashed to the tune of £151 million by Conservative Governments over the last eight years.

“I’ll put a copy of the manifesto on his desk. Perhaps he could join me in asking Government for a better vision for councils by funding them properly for the benefit of all our residents?

“Southampton is a great city andWe’re entering a new decade and the best way forward is to invest, helping the city grow and its people thrive. This bold new budget sets out almost £1bn worth of investmentsfor a better future. There are some exciting projects in the pipeline over the next five years. This year’s budget will enable us to tackle the big challenges and plan for the future whilst ensuring we get the basics right. Through careful management of public money, We’re able to propose a freeze on core council tax for residents in 2020/21. In the absence of any new plan for funding adult social care from central government, it is necessary to propose a small rise of 2% in the adult social care preceptto help us meet demandfrom residents for these vital services for vulnerable people.”

The budget proposals and the investment plan will be discussed by full council on February 26.